The Arrangement (Chapter 7)

Mr. Jones slows the bike in a semicircle at the front of campus. Half frozen, I slip off the back and jump up and down trying to warm myself. The skin on my face and legs is totally numb. I can't feel anything.

He lifts his helmet off and says, "Sorry I didn't have pants."

"If you had spare pants, I don't think we could be friends." I shiver and rub my hands over my arms.

He smiles at me, sets the helmet on his seat, and walks over to me. My heart slams into my ribs and I stop jittering like a Chihuahua. The way he does it is smooth, slow. Each step toward me makes my heart pound harder. His eyes lock with mine and make me melt. The playful smile on his lips makes me want to know him more. Before he does it, I know I want his arms around me, so that when they slip around my waist, it feels good. He's so warm and smells like heaven. His scent hits me hard and I can't help but inhale deeper. His fingers brush against my cheek as he slips his hand into my hair.

Pulse pounding violently, I remain transfixed by his eyes. He lures me in, so slowly, and right before our lips touch, he stops. His dark lashes lower and he hesitates. I feel his breath slip across my lips in a warm rush. He breathes, "Sorry," and pulls away.

Every inch of my body wanted that kiss. I don't know what happened. I blink and look away. His hands slip from my body and the cold air makes me shiver. "For what?" I ask, unable to let it go. I don't want to beg for a kiss, but I can't let it slide.

His eyes flick up. He holds my gaze for a moment and a surge of heat passes between us. I want to reach out and pull him into my arms. The way he looks at me, the way his shoulders slump forward, makes him look beaten, like he needs me. The reasonable part of my brains asks, Are you insane? She's so annoying. It's just a kiss and yes, I am. Shut up.

He smiles sadly at me and kicks something on the ground with his boot. "Nothing, it's just that I don't even know your name, and then I try to kiss you after you had the worst day of your life. That's kind of scummy of me."

"The worst day of my life was yesterday, if you're basing your decisions facts." I step toward him, wondering if this is a game and that I'm being played. "And my name is…" Rationality says not to tell him, but I like him. He's more than attractive, there's more there. "Avery."

He looks at me and says, "Sean."

I smile, saying, "Sean Jones, chivalrous motorcycle man with only one pair of pants."

He laughs and I smile in response. I step closer to him and look up into his crystal blue eyes. I take his jacket in my hands and pull him to me. Sean doesn't hesitate this time. When I press my lips to his, he kisses me back. It's so sweet and gentle that I want to die. That kiss makes every part of me feel light, like I'll float away. When his hands find my face, he holds me gently, trailing his finger along my jaw and back into my hair. It's a sweet kiss, a chaste kiss, but it leaves me breathless and wanting more.

Sean steps away from me and reaches for his helmet. "Your kiss is addictive, Avery Smith."

I smile at the use of my fake last name, and at the way he says he likes my lips. "Likewise."

I don't know what I think will happen next, but when Sean turns to leave, my heart falls into my shoes. That's it? He's leaving? I don't get it. The only thing that I can think is that he doesn't want me. Dejected, I step up onto the sidewalk. I turn away from him and start to head toward my dorm.

"Miss Smith," he calls after me and I turn around. A gust of wind catches my hair, making the long dark strands streak like inky streamers against the sky. "It's been a delightful evening." He grins at me before flipping his visor shut. The engine on his bike roars and he's gone.

I don't mean to, but I watch him leave until the taillight is lost in traffic.

What am I doing? I'm infatuated with a guy that wants hookers, rather than women. Women can be hookers too, genius.

I have no idea what I think about anything anymore. My life is changing. I feel the telltale tilt as my world shifts to one side. The question is, what am I going to do about it?